Malavio confirms Villiers Stakes ambitions
Caryl Williamson
17:45 AEST Sat Oct 13 2012

Trainer Steve Englebrecht has the Group Two Villiers Stakes in his sights for talented four-year-old Malavio who has bounced back from a bungled start to win at Rosehill.

His jockey Nathan Berry said the gelding had gone down on his nose at the start of the Tooheys New Twin Willows Handicap (1350m) but recovered quickly.

After being midfield to the turn, Malavio, the $1.85 favourite, emerged from the pack to move up to the leaders and hit the front mid-straight to go on to beat Isopach ($41) by half-a-length with Coup Ay Tee ($2.80) weakening to finish 2-3/4 lengths away third.

"He fell on his nose out of the barriers," Berry said.

"He got up quickly and I was able to get in behind a couple and he travelled well."

Malavio won the Listed Civic Stakes (1400m) in June and came to Rosehill off a promising first-up fifth behind Pampelonne in last month's Group Two Shorts (1200m).

Englebrecht said the Group Two Villiers in December, which he won with Referral in 1998, was the aim for Malavio.

"I think he'll improve a fair bit. He looked a little soft," Englebrecht said.

"The Villiers is our main target unless he does something special at his next start.

"But I don't want to be tempted by anything else and jeopardise the Villiers.

"He'll run in another 1400-metre race in a fortnight and we'll know more after that."

Englebrecht said Malavio, the winner of seven of his 16 starts, had returned a more mature animal this preparation.

"He's a young, strong horse who looks an ideal Villiers type," he said.

"He is very exciting."

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